Carnegie Mellon University

photo of Karen Lightman

Will Smart Infrastructure Solve Our Transit Problems?

Metro21 Executive Director, Karen Lightman, spoke at the Green Building Alliance: Pittsburgh 2030 District event focused on transportation. The Pittsburgh 2030 District brings together building owners and managers in the city to commit their buildings to 50% reductions in energy and water use, as well as transportation emissions by the year 2030.

Lightman’s speech focused on connecting and creating smart infrastructure to manage transit problems. The rapid emergence of new technologies has the potential to enable cities to become “smarter” and its citizens more connected.

Throughout the talk, Lightman touched on many Metro21 projects and CMU spinoffs including Surtrac, an intelligent traffic control system, that has been able to reduce travel times by 40% and emissions by 20-30%.

Her talk focused on the need from more than just smart infrastructure when building a smart city. A truly smart city must go beyond the technology and use human-centered design to develop and co-create solutions with end-user citizen in mind.

Her call to actions was that pilot projects can be deployed to help understand and mitigate the unintended consequences of new technology. The use of problem-solving, solutions-focused technology is the best way to ensure that as our cities get smarter, they improve the citizens’ quality of life.

To learn more about Metro21's transportation and mobility projects, click here.